Author Topic: "Strong"  (Read 2009 times)

Hgadams

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"Strong"
« on: August 16, 2016, 11:17:40 AM »
Today, I figured out that what others (maybe even myself) have been perceiving as strong is nothing more than the biggest form of weakness. Avoidance. I'm avoiding my pain instead of dealing with it. I've mentioned before in another thread how I am able to go out and be around people- some could say even have a pretty decent time. "Nobody gets how I do it." My husband had been working, in school, and doing clinicals on the weekends this past year. I got so used to going out with our friends without him that - that part actually feels somewhat normal. What doesn't feel normal is when I'm home alone where he is supposed to be. That's where I feel like it will kill me. That is why I avoid home and prefer doing anything but being there. It's easy to imagine he's at school whenever I am doing what I've been doing the past year. I'm not strong, I'm weak. And btw there is nothing I can't stand more than the word "strong" these days. It feels like such a lie when people call me that.
- Hannah

[Your life is your message to the world. Make sure it's inspiring.]

Forever in My Heart.
Clifford Forrest Adams
04/15/1991- 06/25/2016
Our Love Story - https://youtu.be/2SLXa9D_wdg
Memorial - https://youtu.be/U3YSNLeajzM

Mrskro

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Re: "Strong"
« Reply #1 on: August 16, 2016, 11:55:58 AM »
Hannah;

I can relate to hating the word strong.   I continually got "you are the strongest person I know",  and I firmly believe people say it so they can believe that everything is great and they don't need to step and doing anything. 

Go easy on yourself.  Sometimes we all need to practice a little avoidance.  I don't think it is being weak, it's being human.   

Hugs

Trying

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Re: "Strong"
« Reply #2 on: August 16, 2016, 12:06:26 PM »
I hated when people called me strong, it felt like they were invalidating the pain and the struggle I faced every minute of every day.  There is nothing wrong with giving yourself a break from the harsh realities of grief by being out with friends and seeking the comfort of what feels "normal".  We can be both weak and strong, be kind to yourself.
You will forever be my always.

Mizpah

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Re: "Strong"
« Reply #3 on: August 16, 2016, 01:25:53 PM »
An allergy to the word and idea of "strong" is very common in early widowhood - in widowhood in general.  My DH's people would say "be strong," almost as a goodbye every single time I saw them or talked to them.  So many different thoughts on this have gone through my mind over the years.  I'm not strong.  I am strong.  I'm not strong or weak.  There's no such thing as strong or weak in widowhood.  My current mindset is that I *am* strong because I am living without him.  Strong is not an absence of feeling.  Weak isn't crying. 

I will say, though, that I'm a big proponent of facing and accepting feelings, and I credit a lot of my "healing" to being brutally honest with myself and allowing myself to delve into dark feelings.  Do you have a therapist? 

Don't be too hard on yourself.  It's good to be around people if you can handle it and it feels good.  It's hard going home alone to a home you shared with the man you loved.  It makes sense to want to avoid that.  I'm thinking of you.
widowed 2011 (DH 28)

Kater

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Re: "Strong"
« Reply #4 on: August 16, 2016, 02:28:06 PM »
Yup.  Hated "you are so strong".  I don't even know what that means, really.  I was out with two friends - one whose husband recently left her and another married friend.  Me and the separated lady were both lamenting about how much we disliked the comment.  My other friend was shocked.  She asked why it was a bad thing, when she thought it was a compliment.  I do think people mean it as such, like they are admiring our ability to handle the situation. I think we don't like it because we don't WANT to be handling the situation, we just have absolutely no other choice. 
I agree with you, Trying.  I think It invalidates what we are really feeling, and just confirms the disconnect between our outward act and inward feelings. 

My husband and I had quite separate social lives because of our work schedules, and much like you, Hg, being out with friends without him was quite normal.  It was relatively easy in those moments to feel ok, sometimes even good.  I need to be out with people a certain amount for my sanity, but persoanlky, I love being at home, even though it is when I notice his absence the most and when I feel most lost.  Maybe I like it though because I am free to do as I please.  No fake happy face required. Cry as much as I need. It is also where I feel like I am able to work through and face down this grief the best and to build up the reserves to be able to face the world some days.



« Last Edit: August 16, 2016, 02:29:42 PM by Kater »

Rayspumpkin

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Re: "Strong"
« Reply #5 on: August 16, 2016, 08:47:45 PM »
AMEN! I was the same way! Even got angry when people called me strong...what I heard was "fake" screaming in my head; you THINK I'm strong...I'm just running...

Jen

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Re: "Strong"
« Reply #6 on: August 17, 2016, 09:45:50 AM »
I loathed, hated and despised hearing "you're so strong." I still do, but at least I don't want to punch people in the face when I hear it now. It's meant to be encouraging, but it has the opposite effect, in my experience. It feels... minimizing, somehow. Like our loss is insignificant. "I could never be that strong" means "it would be so much more devastating if I lost my loved one, yours must not really count." That's what I hear-- I'm positive that's not what's meant, but we all filter through our own lenses. It hurt. I hated it.

((((((((HUGS))))))))) It's okay not to feel strong. You don't have to be. I'm so, so sorry you have to be here, but if you have to go to pieces (and that's perfectly fine) this is a safe place to do it.
I have love in me the likes of which you can scarcely imagine and rage the likes of which you would not believe. If I cannot satisfy the one, I will indulge the other. ~Mary Shelley, Frankenstein

"Dying is easy. Living is hard. ~George Washington, Hamilton

geminigirl

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Re: "Strong"
« Reply #7 on: August 17, 2016, 12:35:54 PM »
I really have found my people, I also hate when people say how strong I am. A friend of mine just recently said something like “I don't know how you do it, I would probably kill myself or go insane if my husband died." Well, I guess I just didn't love my husband that much because I'm still living and while do I feel slightly crazy I still manage to function like a normal human each day. I know she didn't mean it as an insult but people say stupid shit sometimes.

I'm not strong but I don't have a choice but to go on each day because I have a two year old depending on me. We all do what we need to do to make it through the day. If you feel better hanging out with your friends then hang out with your friends. Who the hell is to say what's normal? It's not normal losing your husband at such a young age so do whatever you need to do to survive the day.

I think it's pretty normal to try to avoid pain. Feeling pain sucks! Some days I feel it more than others. Some days I cry all day and some days I pretend my husband is at work because I'm sick of crying. I play games with my mind because I can't handle reality. Grief is a weird and horrible thing that we all process in our own way.

AubreeAnn

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Re: "Strong"
« Reply #8 on: August 17, 2016, 08:49:52 PM »
I can understand what you mean by avoidance. I talked to my therapist about avoidance  and she asked me, "If you let everything hit you at once, what do you think would have happened?" And I told her "Self destruction". Self destruction and ending it all was something that I kept close to me, as an outlet for when it all became too much. I can't image what would have happened if I didn't have avoidance in the very beginning. I truly don't think I would be here. I think about that conversation almost everyday. You know what has happened, you know the situation you're in, you just need to let it come when it comes and don't be too hard on yourself. As of now and to an extent, avoidance has been a friend of mine. One day I'll be thankful that I took things slow and not all at once. Do what you need to survive, that's all we can really do for ourselves. Try to survive.

Rayspumpkin

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Re: "Strong"
« Reply #9 on: August 18, 2016, 07:58:25 PM »
I loathed, hated and despised hearing "you're so strong." I still do, but at least I don't want to punch people in the face when I hear it now. It's meant to be encouraging, but it has the opposite effect, in my experience. It feels... minimizing, somehow. Like our loss is insignificant. "I could never be that strong" means "it would be so much more devastating if I lost my loved one, yours must not really count." That's what I hear-- I'm positive that's not what's meant, but we all filter through our own lenses. It hurt. I hated it.

((((((((HUGS))))))))) It's okay not to feel strong. You don't have to be. I'm so, so sorry you have to be here, but if you have to go to pieces (and that's perfectly fine) this is a safe place to do it.


YESSSSSSSSSS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Hgadams

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Re: "Strong"
« Reply #10 on: August 23, 2016, 07:03:10 PM »
Thank you all so much for your comments!!!! I'm so glad to hear that others felt the same way. It really does feel like it minimizes the loss and my feelings over it. It's so frustrating. My husband was honored at his school on Sunday, they had designed a plaque in his honor. It was wonderful, but I have to be honest I was absolutely terrified to go to the little memorial his classmates did. It was in a town where a week before his death we had our third anniversary date/celebration. I haven't been there since he died because I was scared to. It was in his school where he had just graduated never to get a job in his dream career. I felt like I couldn't breathe the whole time. Well I invited his whole family because I felt like it was an honor for him and we should all be there. Not one of them came. His mother text me the night before about all the pain she was in (I don't mean to minimize that because I know she is) but it bothered me because she had already decided the night before that she wouldn't be good enough to go the next day. I had told her I loved her, hoped she would feel better in the morning because it was such an honor for Clifford. Didn't hear from any of them all day and she didn't talk to me until like 9 that night. I may be wrong for this, I don't know. But I do believe a person's life is something to be celebrated and honored. Even if it is hard, they should want to be there... For him or for me. It really hurts my feelings they didn't feel they had to be there for him or for me. I have mentioned before and I know she's having a really hard time... But she can pull herself together for her grandson's birthday party but not a memorial service for her deceased son??? I guess I just wonder if because I'm "so strong" people think I can handle this stuff but I don't have an option. If I don't do it, no one else will. They have an option, no one would have ever considered it an option for me not to go. It just really hurts for my feelings and fears to be minimized I guess because I am not as obvious about how truly bad I'm feeling. End rant.
- Hannah

[Your life is your message to the world. Make sure it's inspiring.]

Forever in My Heart.
Clifford Forrest Adams
04/15/1991- 06/25/2016
Our Love Story - https://youtu.be/2SLXa9D_wdg
Memorial - https://youtu.be/U3YSNLeajzM

Julester3

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Re: "Strong"
« Reply #11 on: August 23, 2016, 10:53:52 PM »
As I read through this, it triggered commentary I remembered that entire first week. Everyone's uniform commentary, "You are strong, so strong, you can do this." Well, crap. Sucks. I have been a hard-headed, take charge kind of person all my life but my husband gave me an outlet to relax, lean on him and be vulnerable and trusting unto someone else. There is no one to lean on but myself. So I too think people misinterpret for what I have to do as a sense of strength. But I don't like to reveal more than I am willing to either.

Hannah sorry you didn't have anyone in his family attend. I can understand the disappointment.

donswife

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Re: "Strong"
« Reply #12 on: August 24, 2016, 07:02:24 AM »
" if I don't do it , no one else will"      I think this says it all
its the reason we all get up in the morning
its the reason we honor our husbands, like you did, at his memorial
all of us here know how hard and heartbreaking this was for you
we get that you had to take deep breaths just to get yourself ready and walk through the door
I am sorry his family didn't attend
take care


My everything

mbanyard

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Re: "Strong"
« Reply #13 on: August 27, 2016, 08:28:19 PM »
I hear ya Hannah. I am starting to hate the word "strong" as well...and for the same reasons. (I lost my DH on July 23)

The other one I am hearing is "you've always been a survivor so you'll get through this too"

We are all very good actors/actresses when we need to be. People who don't know perceive that as "strong" when we are falling apart on the inside completely.

There are lots of people here who understand what we are all going through and that is a blessing that I just found today. Hang in there.

MB
We either make ourselves miserable, or we make ourselves strong. The amount of work is the same....and I choose strong!